||[Nov. 9th, 2006|05:19 pm]
The Richard Burgi fanclub asked me to do resume of our time spent with Richard at the golf in August. I thought I'd put it up here as well for those of you who are not members *shakes head in wonderment* It's just a potted version of the one Gillyp and I did for her website, but those who don't want to plough through the minutae might find it interesting!
This is just an attempt at a resume of the amazing and serendipitous events that took us down to Wales for a wonderful three days shared with Richard Burgi, we have written a much longer version which can be found at http://www.templeofthesentinels.com/events.htm.
It all begins one miserable morning as I was reclining on my sick bed with a nasty dose of flu, idly flicking through my e.mails. Noticing a post from Bert on Sentinalia I started reading about Richard’s latest project; being most decidedly below par it took a couple of seconds for the words I was reading to sink in – RICHARD BURGI! GOLF! WALES!
I was instantly hammering away on my keyboard to my partner in crime Gilly needing confirmation that this was actually true and I wasn’t having some sort of fever-induced hallucination!
Sure enough, after some frantic internet research looking up the Celtic Manor golf course and the All Star Golf Tournament we were convinced it was all real, and literally a couple of hours after hearing about the wondrous event, we were booked into a local bed and breakfast and our tickets were winging their way to us.
Saturday morning found us crawling out of bed at 3 am so that we could be there at the tournament as the gates opened, and we had a very excited, nay semi-hysterical drive down there. The most notable part being the glorious sunrise we witnessed as we were passing over into Wales; the whole landscape was bathed in a wonderful golden glow, and we came to the conclusion that we were now in Burgi space and The Beautiful One had just opened his eyes.
We arrived at the tournament in good time and set up camp on the practice range next to a sign that said Richard Burgi; it helped just to get confirmation that he was really there, although part of me was still convinced that there was some other Richard Burgi kicking around that we’d never heard of.
We waited patiently, getting very excited every time a celebrity golf buggy arrived, but began to despair of seeing our man, especially when we overheard a steward behind us comment, “I notice the ones who were out drinking last night haven’t showed up for practice!” On looking there were distinct gaps by Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, Aiden Quinn and of course Richard! Disappointing, but good that he was having a good time!
Eventually we wandered away and down towards the 18th green where we stood, peering into the crowd of celebs and their caddies, still desperate for a glimpse. Suddenly a caddy moved to one side and lo and behold, The Godly One came into view. He was a long way off, but the shape and stance was so obviously him; we bobbed around and waved every time he so much as glanced in our direction but couldn’t attract his attention and eventually he left the course.
I however, was a woman on a mission; I had the scent of Richard Burgi in my nostrils and shot round to the side gate where I had seen him leaving. Sure enough he was still there surrounded by autograph hunters. He seemed a little rattled by the crowd but cheered up instantly when I thrust a rather beautiful picture of Jungle Jim under his nose! “Oh look at that!” he laughed and of course I instantly went all shy and muttered “it is rather lovely isn’t it!” He asked if we were Sentinel fans at which we both began to gush about how we’d set of at 3 am in the morning to meet him etc etc. He put his arm round me for a picture (a wonderful but deeply embarrassing picture that I have had a hard time living down since!) which Gilly so kindly took, but while we were trying to sort all the things out so she could have hers taken he had moved on and the moment was lost.
We wandered a while, enjoying the atmosphere and processing the first meeting, before hearing the order of play and heading off down to the 6th hole, where Richard was teeing off with Alice Cooper and Aiden Quinn. It was a bit of a sprint and I still feel mildly guilty about the number of celebrities we snubbed on the way, but we arrived there just as Richard drove by on his golf buggy (I tried to hitch a lift but he just laughed and waved).
We settled down on a grassy knoll to watch; when it was Richard’s turn he shouted up “better watch yourselves ladies!” but he did a good shot and they all moved along to the next hole, Richard on foot. At this point it just seemed really odd and uncomfortable to keep following along behind, so we decided to give him his space and let him enjoy the day without us stalking him.
We camped out at a hole further along and waited patiently, clapping politely as celebrities came and went but with only one true person in mind. Eventually he arrived and we shyly approached him again, just worried about being a nuisance really; but he was open and welcoming and just lovely! Gilly had made us some rather clever T shirts taken from the Daily Mail (having a Prime Minister called Blair gives some great headlines at times) and Richard openly admired them, said he loved them and signed them for us, along with yet more patting and arm and back rubbing; he really is one of the most tactile people I have ever met) We got the chance to chat briefly but some autograph hunters came over and he began signing, but with my pen, which obviously I wanted back because He had held it! There is a good foot in height difference between Richard and myself and so I didn’t stand much of a chance when he started teasing me and holding it out of my reach and twiddling it in his fingers, but I am a quiet but determined soul and got it back in the end.
We began to make our way back to the golf club, our report on Gilly’s site tells more about our adventures on the way; waited until the end of the day when Richard drove away in his Audi and headed off to our bed and breakfast, exhausted but happy.
The next morning we bounced out of bed, the day before had been perfect but there was more to come. Sue, Rae and Geri were joining us as well and although we were a little late (having got lost somehow during the one mile trip from our B & B to the golf course!) we all met up successfully and once again wound our way to Richard’s sign on the practise range.
Eventually he arrived, practised a little and then tried to make his escape. “Your Sentinel girls are here!” we all yelled and he amiably sauntered over, commenting, “You girls are lovely!” He signed the items we had brought for him, adding an odd little (apparently meaningless) Chinese symbol on to Gilly’s Sentinel disc box! And posed for some photos sans his shades (man those eyes!!), but then his game was announced and he had to go.
We followed him down to the first hole; there were a lot of people around so we felt we could follow him without looking like stalkers this time.
If you want to hear about the golf read Rae’s report, the golf meant nothing to me, I just had eyes for The Godly One, he could have missed every shot as far as I was concerned and still been the winner.
However, eventually even I became aware that his game was perhaps not as good as it could be and he seemed to be getting a bit upset about it. At one point I told him to turn his cap round like Jim does in a crisis situation and he laughed and said “What, change the mojo?” flipping his cap as he walked, to which Gilly answered “How about a hunker and flip?” which made him laugh all the more.
We continued to support him enthusiastically but his game continued to go from bad to worse. As he walked from one hole to the next, I went up to him and said “don’t look so sad, you look like you need a hug” (being more than willing to oblige I have to say!), to which he just went “aaaaah” and threw his arm round me. We walked up the slope together arm in arm, me struggling to match his stride and chatting, at that point I officially died and went to heaven. When we reached the top of the slope he commented that he needed someone to prop him up on the other side and so Sue, (moving faster than the Flash on a good day) nipped under his other arm and with Gilly squeezed on the end next to me we all had our photo taken by a very kind young girl.
Richard then decided that he was too tired to stand up anymore and dropped his full weight onto us! The three of us tried desperately to hold him up, but boy was he heavy!
Sadly he then had to go and play some more golf and after thanking us, saying “thanks ladies; that helped a lot” he went on to play a really good shot.
Sadly it didn’t last and his golf went downhill again fast – one very surreal moment occurring at the 16th hole when Gilly and I stood clutching each other, watching one of Richard’s balls heading straight for us! Having decided there were worse ways to go we stood our ground but it landed a few feet behind us, to the sound of Jane Seymour commenting “you nearly hit my mother!”
The last couple of holes on the course were always very difficult to get to see anything at because the crowds were always biggest there and we are rather short so we gave up and headed on round to the hotel entrance in the hope of another chat with him there. However, sadly after waiting quite some time, Sue had to leave and we felt guilty about sending her off on her own and so tore ourselves away, knowing that we still had another day yet!
Having waved off Sue, Rae and Gerri it was back to just the two old faithful ones, Gilly and myself for the Monday.
We had been so sad for Richard the day before, as although he had taken his bad form with good humour and grace he had seemed a little upset at times. So, having read that he was interested in Feng Shui, we talked our interesting psychic medium landlady into giving us a crystal to give to him for luck.
Thus, there we were, camped out as usual by his name on the practise range. I have to say, he is one of the few people in existence who can wear beige and still look good! Initially he was called away for an interview and we thought we weren’t going to get the chance to talk to him, but he blew us a kiss and promised he would be back and of course we had faith in him and stayed put. Eventually he arrived back and practised a few shots before coming on over for a chat. I gave him the crystal and Gilly gave her practised spiel about where it came from and it’s power etc, and we instantly discovered it was a powerful crystal indeed in that it earned us a lovely hug and kiss, he even said we were sweet *giggle*
He put the crystal in his pocket and headed off for the game. We followed on behind but had little hope of so much contact with him that day as he had been paired with Meat Loaf and there was a huge crowd following the game round.
However, it soon became apparent that the crystal wasn’t working for him; his game was even worse than the previous day! After one particularly bad shot, I looked across at him and shrugged an apology, at which he laughed and wandered over. Gill then commented that we wouldn’t be offended if he wanted to throw it away, But he just gave it back to us and asked us to give it some good mojo.
Getting rid of the crystal made no difference at all however, his next shot went backwards and I told him that maybe he should have the crystal back as at least he was going in the right direction before!
This was the point I decided to tell him about the beer I’d brought for him, saying that I’d been concerned about him not being able to get any decent beer that far south. His eyes lit up when I showed it to him and I said I’d hang on to it until the end of the day, (the things you do for love, it was flipping heavy to carry round all day)
The joke with the crystal continued pretty much at each hole, until Richard decided to give up on the golf and swapped places with Chris Evans’s caddy! At this point he asked for the crystal back and slipped it into his pocket. It seemed that he suddenly began to relax and enjoy the game, really winning the crowd over with his antics. We were stood behind him when I muttered “Oh Richard, This is wrong on so many levels” to which he turned round and said, “I thought I’d better demote myself before I kill someone”
I also teased him about how much it would be worth, knowing what a good player he is, not to tell Garett about his awful game, at which he became all serious and sincere and told us what a good player, even pro level, Garett was. (We have since met Garett as well, and when I defended Richard’s game and said he was most likely jet lagged, Garett roared with laughter and said “No man! His game is always horrible, just horrible!”)
Waking further along Gilly had a lovely moment down in the same glade as I received my hug the day before; when for some reason he reached down and chucked her cheek, it was very sweet!
At the 15th hole there was a nice scene that showed what a really lovely man Richard is. There was a boy in a wheelchair, obviously struggling to see, and unnoticed by the other celebs. Richard stopped to talk to him, tried to get them in closer but couldn’t and then shot off, to return a few minutes later having got all the other players to sign his team cap which he gave to the boy. We heard afterwards that he had managed to get the whole family tickets for the party that evening - what a sweetie.
That was pretty much it for us on the golf course really; the light was drawing in and they decided to head off to the last hole. We managed to squeeze in to watch a joke tee off where they all hit at the same time and the balls went literally everywhere – Richard picked up the green rake and joked that perhaps he’d be able to hit the ball with that!
There were some lovely Jim Ellison moments in general during the three days. Whenever Richard made a mess of the green teeing off, he would replace every blade of grass with loving care until you couldn’t tell anyone had been there, and when he hit the ball into a bunker, he would rake it afterwards with painstaking detail until the sand was perfect – it was a joy to behold.
Knowing we wouldn’t be able to get near Richard again at the golf course, we stationed ourselves once again by the clubhouse exit, in the hope that we would at least be able to wave goodbye to him.
We stood for a long, long time, occasionally splitting up so we didn’t risk missing him at the other entrance, but eventually he came out and Gilly called out Richard quite softly. He instantly dropped his bag and came right over smiling and saying “There you are my angels!” Gill said, “We just wanted to say goodbye and thank you for such a fantastic weekend” to which Richard reacted by sweeping her into a huge hug and kissing her cheek, saying, “Well thank you too”
Then it was my turn and I was also swept into a breathtaking embrace and smacker of a kiss. I managed to squeeze out breathlessly “Thanks, you’ve given us a great weekend,” to which he replied “Yeah, you’ve made it great for me too, giving me that goddamned rock and all that trouble...................... just kidding!”
I asked him if he would come back and see us again, and he said he would really like to, then I gave him his beer and Gilly got him to sign an autograph for someone who couldn’t come, and then parting became such sweet sorrow as he had to go, the car had been waiting for him all this time.
We sadly waved him away before wending our way back to the car, exhausted, emotionally and physically, but very, very happy.
The 3 hour drive home was over in a flash, thrilled and excited as we were, I really don’t know how I managed to get us home in once piece to be honest! And even when we were back at my house, we just had to watch some Richard on the TV before we could even think about sleep!
It truly was the best weekend of my life so far, I can’t imagine anything topping it! And I think Gilly is close behind. I now have a magical place to go to when real life gets too bad; I drift back to that fairy glen, walking in the sunshine arm in arm with Richard.
All that remains to say is thank you Richard, for a fantastic three days. We were bowled over by your good humour and generosity and sincerely hope you’ll be back to see us again next year.